Don’t Blame Apple for Dysfunctional RCS in iOS 18

Apple’s announcement at WWDC 2024 regarding RCS messaging on iPhones with iOS 18 was big news, especially for Android users. RCS, or Rich Communication Services, promises richer messaging functionality for iPhone users interacting with Android devices. This includes features like sending larger media files and audio messages and even reading receipts.

However, there’s a catch. The second beta of iOS 18 has introduced an RCS toggle in the settings app for some users, but it appears the functionality isn’t there. It’s just a dead toggle.

The key lies with carrier support. As discovered by 9to5Mac in the iOS 18 beta 2 code, enabling RCS on iPhones relies on carrier updates. Currently, only a couple of carriers have updated their services RCS support on iPhones.

RCS support on the iPhone relies on Apple working with carrier partners to get them to update their bundles shipped with iOS. Right now, only a few carriers (such as AT&T and T-Mobile in the US) have updated their carrier bundles to support RCS on the iPhone.

This means that while a public beta of iOS 18 is expected next month, most beta testers will likely be unable to test the RCS features due to the lack of corresponding updates from their carriers.

There is some hope for a wider rollout by September when iOS 18 is expected for the general public. Carriers may use the intervening time to enable RCS support on their networks.

We don’t recommend our readers upgrade to iOS 18 yet as it might have several bugs. If you’ve already done it, here’s how you can revert back to the stable version of iOS. Apple has also released developer betas of visionOS 2 and macOS 15.

For iPhone users hoping for a better messaging experience with their Android contacts, patience is the key for now. This limited functionality will definitely disappoint beta testers who are eager to try out the new messaging features.

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